Friday, 23 February 2024 03:55

Shellshocked Lives

Published in Films

Shellshocked Lives

by Viktoria Simanovski

These days I see an unjust world fragmented into fractions, thrusting children into battles and wars that are not of their making. In my film I try to express my hope for justice and understanding between people and between nations. We all start our journey as humans, but somewhere along the way we get tangled up in the web of nationalities, religions etc. It pains me to witness the transformation of children, who may once have been playmates, into pawns that are drawn into wars they never wished for. I really want people to allow themselves to see the difference between their own feelings and what is imposed from the outside.

Viktoria Simanovski is a member of a group called Just Building Bridges. It includes sanctuary seekers, refugees and asylum seekers in north-east England that has produced a series of photographs and short films on the theme of justice. The group itself is very diverse, from several different countries and continents. All of them are trying to ‘build bridges’ from a relatively marginalised position, and resettle peacefully and successfully in various local communities.

The photographs, films and zines made by the group cover a wide range of themes. There are local issues of waste, litter, and noise; bigger economic issues such as the fast fashion industry; and some very topical issues of global significance, such as the conflicts in the Ukraine and the Middle East.

The project was facilitated by Theresa Easton, lecturer in Fine Art at Newcastle University; Carl Joyce, photographer and filmmaker; and Michael Quille, writer and editor of Culture Matters. Thanks are due to Newcastle University and the Hatton Gallery Learning Space for the use of premises and equipment, and the Passionist Community for their financial support.

The exhibition materials are a fine body of authentic, heartfelt work. There are around 28 A4 photographs in A3 frames; 2 short films for playing on a loop; and a series of accompanying zines. If you are interested in displaying the exhibition, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Business Meeting
Friday, 23 February 2024 03:55

Business Meeting

Published in Poetry

Business Meeting

October 2023

by Edward Mackinnon

The blood-red carpet's been rolled out again
for the salesman with formidable arms
and a mouth like the barrel of a gun
who knows only too well the source of all terror
in the depths of his atrophied heart

His government will wait a hundred years
before getting to the bottom of the latest blast
but it's losing patience with two million outcasts
who aren't fleeing fast enough from the white fire
of his demanding clients, the chosen ones

He exudes omnipotence, has aircraft carriers
on standby and other powerful weapons, informers
giving reassurance to the doubtful world

but nevertheless he can't help worrying
whether he's striking the right pose, not suffering
collateral damage to his unimpeachable name

and whether there might be a chink in his armour
through which could pass the winning light
of the bereaved fighters for unflinching truth

Gaza burns
Friday, 23 February 2024 03:55

Eyeless

Published in Poetry

Eyeless

by Ruth Aylett

They bombed other people’s houses
in Gaza, fish-in-a-barrel
so we sold them some more bombs

agreed that those others
were terrorists
so the world was probably
better off without them
agreed that the planes
had done everything possible
to avoid civilian casualties
and sold them some more bombs

agreed that they had every right
to defend themselves against
fish in barrels
who after all were terrorists,
had only themselves to blame
and we sold them some more bombs

But answer me this
what life must you have lived
to be a terrorist aged eight
or an elderly woman terrorist
aged sixty or a doctor
in the clinic that must have been
hiding terrorists
or they wouldn’t have bombed it
would they?

and tell me how fish in a barrel
can swim away when the bombs fall